In The Know: Oklahoma Legislature forms health care working group, Rural hospitals foundering in states that declined Obamacare, Experts say state at top of pack in opioid overdoses

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Oklahoma Legislature forms Medicaid expansion, health care working group: Leaders of Oklahoma’s House and Senate announced plans Monday for a bipartisan, bicameral working group to study health care in what may be the most telling sign to date the Legislature plans to tackle Medicaid expansion next year. [The Oklahoman] On Monday, House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat announced that a select group of lawmakers, including 14 Republicans and four Democrats, will join with Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Health Carter Kimble and Samantha Davidson, policy director in the office of Gov. Kevin Stitt, to develop an “Oklahoma solution” for increasing access to health care and providing insurance coverage for more Oklahomans. [Journal RecordNeed more information about the ballot initiative to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot? Visit our SQ 802 resources page.

‘Leaving billions of dollars on the table’ Rural hospitals foundering in states that declined Obamacare: More than half of all rural hospitals in Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma lost money from 2011 through 2017. In Kansas, the bloodletting was even more widespread. Two out of three rural hospitals in the state operated in the red during the seven year period. Five were forced to shut down. [Gatehouse News] Expanding health coverage would be especially beneficial for rural Oklahoma.

Experts say state at top of pack in opioid overdoses: On Friday, OSU Medical Center for Wellness and Recovery wrapped up its week-long event with a panel of law enforcement officials and a director of treatment and recovery. Dr. Jason Beaman, chair of Psychiatry at OSU Center for Health Sciences, cited an effort to combat the opioid epidemic, and said Tahlequah is one of the top four areas in the state of Oklahoma for opioid overdoses. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Oklahoma to address opioid abuse, rising insulin costs during interim studies: A local state senator will be taking an in-depth look at the opioid epidemic and services for those with Type 1 diabetes over the next few months. Every year the Oklahoma Senate selects topics to thoroughly study and discuss with subject-matter experts in hopes of developing new policies and legislation in those areas. [Pawhuska Journal-Capital]

COLUMN: Oklahoma House pursues child-focused interim studies: The Oklahoma House of Representatives has green-lit 99 interim studies to be held over the summer months, which means legislators will be back in Oklahoma City for meetings soon. More information about each approved study can be found at OkHouse.Gov, along with details of the 46 studies that were requested by members but rejected by the Speaker of the House. [Joe Dorman / Duncan Banner] Check on the 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book to see how Oklahoma’s children are faring.

INTERVIEW: Multi-state licensure to allow doctors to practice across borders: Oklahoma’s legislature recently enacted HB 2351, entering Oklahoma into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, effective Nov. 1. The compact is an agreement among more than 25 states that allows qualified physicians to obtain an expedited medical license in any compact-member state. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Capitol restoration ramps up: With lawmakers out for the summer, hundreds of workers have overtaken the Oklahoma state Capitol, increasing efforts with the Capitol Restoration Project. [The Oklahoman]

Risha Talks: Could it help if race were included in ACE assessments? I’ve been reading the recent Tulsa World series on scores for Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, an assessment that calculates how rough your childhood was or is. The higher your score, the higher the likelihood that you will experience health and mental problems possibly into adulthood. ACE scores are impacted by such things as parental separation, emotional neglect and domestic violence. Why am I sharing this with you? [Risha Grant / Tulsa World] Fairer tax and economic policies could reduce parental stress and improve child well-being.

Tulsa World editorial: Stricter limits on emergency teacher certification right move but no solution: New limits regulating emergency teaching certifications recognize the importance of early education and focuses on quality in the classrooms. The Oklahoma Department of Education released the requirements last week, and two recently appointed board members say they will give more scrutiny to all requests. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Tribes unify as Stitt tries to renegotiate gaming compact: Twenty-nine tribal leaders sent a letter to Gov. Stitt saying they “stand united” when it comes to Oklahoma’s Gaming Compact. The letter followed the governor’s announcement in early July that he wants to renegotiate the agreement, which allows tribes to operate casino games in exchange for giving the state a percentage of their revenue through “exclusivity fees.” [KGOU] What’s That? Tribal Gaming Compacts

Revenues, competition on the rise for tribal casinos: Many tribally owned casinos are raking in more than $50 million in annual revenues, according to a national survey. While tribally owned casinos across 21 states reported rising earnings this year, they also reported rising competition driving trends toward more focused market research and advertising. [Journal Record]

Public continues voicing opinions on ICE presence at Oklahoma County jail; trust to ask for $100,000 from county commissioners: For the second meeting in a row, members of the public addressed the Oklahoma County Jail Trust to voice their opinions on having ICE present in the county jail. [The Oklahoman] With the new format for public comment adopted this week allowing members of the public to speak on specific agenda items, several took advantage to address multiple concerns. [Free Press OKC]

How ICE works at the Oklahoma County jail: For years, two ICE agents have used office space in the jail to help screen inmates for citizenship status during intake, said Mark Myers, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office. This is separate from any formal program ICE offers for local law enforcement, which Oklahoma County is not part of. [The Oklahoman]

Residents hear new details on MAPS 4 mental health proposal at town hall: New details about what a mental health package would look like if included in MAPS 4 were discussed Monday night during Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert’s mental health town hall. Dozens gathered at NorthCare, a mental health treatment facility in Oklahoma City, to learn more details about the proposal and to hear from a panel of service providers on why this type of package is needed. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa City Council subcommittee proposes short-term rentals ordinance without special exception requirement: A City Council subcommittee and the Mayor’s Office are working on a proposed short-term rental ordinance that would remove one of the key recommendations of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, city officials said Monday. [Tulsa World]

David Boren situation features ethical complexities: Despite boasting a population or nearly 4 million people, Oklahoma often has the tendencies of a small town. When it comes to attorneys, educators and political appointees, the state is even smaller. So when Oklahoma’s arguably most prominent political figure is accused of sexual misconduct, it might seem unavoidable for accusing parties and those tasked with serving the public interest to hold their own relationships of ethical complexity. [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“A hospital closure is a frightening thing for a small town. It places lives in jeopardy and has a domino effect on the community. Health care professionals leave, pharmacies can’t stay open, nursing homes have to close and residents are forced to rely on ambulances to take them to the next closest facility in their most vulnerable hours.”

– Patti Davis, president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, on how losing a hospital can devastate rural communities, leaving them with diminished prospects for economic development [Gatehouse News]

Number of the Day


Percentage of murders that were intimate-partner murders (one spouse killing the other) in 2017

[Source: Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

18 and On Your Own: A New Way to Ease the Transition From Foster Care: The years between 18 and 21 are a precarious time for anyone. That’s particularly true for the more than 23,000 young adults who age out of the foster care system each year. Some 20 percent of them become homeless the moment they’re turned out of foster care. The chance that an aged-out foster child will earn a college degree is less than 3 percent. And 70 percent of the young women no longer under foster supervision become pregnant by the time they turn 21. [Politico]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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